CIC: the Public Authority is not in a position to tell who was the PIO at the relevant time, which reflects pathetic conditions; PIO directed to clarify who was the concerned PIO at the time of FAA order & send the SCN regarding penalty to that PIO
The appellant Mr. Prem Raj is present. Mr. T.N.Meena, AC (Central)/PIO, Mr. R.K.Anand, FSO and Mr. M.Verma, Inspector represented the Public Authority.
2. The Commission vide its Order dated 30.4.2014, had directed the PIO to explain why penalty u/s 20(1) Where the Central Information Commission or the State Information Commission, as the case may be, at the time of deciding any complaint or appeal is of the opinion that the Central Public Information Officer or the State Public Information Officer, as the case may be, has, without any reasonable cause, refused to receive an application for information or has not furnished information within the time specified under sub-section (1) of section 7 or malafidely denied the request for information or knowingly given incorrect, incomplete or misleading information or destroyed information which was the subject of the request or obstructed in any manner in furnishing the information, it shall impose a penalty of two hundred and fifty rupees each day till application is received or information is furnished, so however, the total amount of such penalty shall not exceed twenty-five thousand rupees: Provided that the Central Public Information Officer or the State Public Information Officer, as the case may be, shall be given a reasonable opportunity of being heard before any penalty is imposed on him: Provided further that the burden of proving that he acted reasonably and diligently shall be on the Central Public Information Officer or the State Public Information Officer, as the case may be. should not be imposed for not complying with the FAA order within the mandatory time period prescribed by the said order.
3. The Commission took up the complaint of the appellant about noncompliance of the Commission’s order dt. 30.4.2014. The appellant complained that the respondent authority have not paid the compensation as ordered by this Commission in the said order. He submitted that the respondent authority have quoted some rules of their office, saying that it is not possible for them to pay the compensation. In response to this, the PIO submitted that they have corrected that stand and are now ready to pay compensation within 24 hours. Regarding the noncompliance of the Commission’s order, the respondent/PIO submitted that they have furnished the information on 1552014 and transferred the ration card to FPS No.5135 which is nearer to the appellant’s house, after consulting their higher authorities. The PIO claims that he personally initiated the efforts to take permission from the higher authorities to change the appellant’s card on the above FPS. But the appellant contends that the present ration shop, from which he was getting rations, is only convenient. The respondent authority submits that the FPS referred by the appellant is not within 1 Km. distance as per rules, and hence it cannot be changed to that FPS. The Commission cannot decide the question of distance of FPS from the appellant’s house. The respondent authority is, therefore, directed to furnish the information to the appellant as per his five RTI applications under reference. With these directions, the noncompliance to the Commission’s order is closed.
4. The PIO, Mr. T.N.Meena present in the hearing, submitted that he was not the PIO at the time of filing of the RTI application and the FAA order thereon. Hence he shall not the punished under the RTI Act and penalty is not imposed on him. In his capacity as present PIO, he has a responsibility to transmit the Show Cause Notice of this Commission to the concerned PIO, who was functioning on the date of RTI application (whether it was Shri Shakti Bangar or Shri Pankaj Sud or any other officer). The Commission observes that the Public Authority is not in a position to tell who the PIO, which reflects pathetic conditions. He is, therefore, directed to clarify who was the concerned PIO at the time of FAA order and send the Show Cause Notice to that PIO, who has to explain why penalty cannot be imposed on him, within 21 days from date of receipt of this order.
(M. Sridhar Acharyulu)
Citation: Mr. Prem Raj v. Department of Food & Supply, GNCTD in (1) File No.CIC/AD/A/2013/000297SA (2) File No.CIC/AD/A/2013/000298SA (3) File No.CIC/AD/A/2013/000922SA (4) File No.CIC/DS/A/2013/002469SA (5) File No.CIC/DS/A/2013/002470SA